President Volodymyr Zelensky has revoked the Ukrainian citizenship of 13 clerics of the Russian-affiliated Ukrainian church, according to sources cited by Livy Bereh, a Ukrainian news site.
The decree hasn’t been published so far as it contains sensitive information, according to Livy Bereh.
Some of the clerics on the list have already fled to Russia, and some of them were suspected of collaboration with Russian forces and treason, Livy Bereh reported. The priests who haven’t fled may be expelled from Ukraine, according to the news site.
Recently, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, an affiliate of the Russian Orthodox Church, has faced a backlash.
Zelensky signed a decree on Dec. 2 to approve a proposal by the National Security and Defense Council to ban the Russian-backed Ukrainian church.
The National Security and Defense Council instructed the Cabinet on Dec. 1 to draft a bill on such a ban. The bill is expected to be considered by the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament.
Since November, Ukraine has conducted nationwide raids on religious sites that belong to the Russian-controlled church – during which authorities say they have so far found Russian passports, anti-Ukrainian propaganda, and a stolen collection of icons. Searches have also taken place at the Moscow Patriarchate-controlled Kyiv Pechersk Lavra.